Dr. Kristin Spencer
By Dr. Kristin Spencer on February 22, 2021

The Medical Assistant's Assistant

When the Medical Assistant program at Jackson College in Jackson, MI had to go online, the faculty were at a loss as to what to do with the numerous lab skills the students needed to learn to meet program accreditation requirements. Fortunately, the MA Program had implemented Crossbraining a few months prior, so put it fully into action.


Students were provided with a variety of supplies via mail, porch drop off, or driveway pick up, so they could continue to learn new skills to prepare for when they could come back to lab. Obviously, they were unable to provide supplies for invasive procedures such as injections and blood draws, but with the other items they were given, they were able to complete and be assessed on almost all of their clinical skills requirements.

What did they do?

These students were able to be evaluated and assessed on the following skills, just to name a few:

  • Handwashing
  • PPE
  • Pulse
  • Respirations
  • Blood Pressure
  • Setting up a sterile field
  • Wound care
  • Dressing Change
  • First Aid Procedures such as Shock, Seizure, Bleeding, Syncope
  • Bandaging
  • Preparing an Oral Med
  • Various lab testing

How did they do it?

Students were able to use family members who were in the household to “play patient”. Students who lived alone got creative, using various inanimate objects to perform various procedures on. With Crossbraining, you can record from your cell phone or computer, so they were able to easily make their recordings and then narrate from the quiet of their home. They then uploaded the final product and the instructors were able to view from home and conduct their competency check-offs right from Crossbraining.

What was the outcome?

Once students were able to come back into the lab, there were a number of restrictions in place. However, due to their work with Crossbraining, the students were able to focus on the invasive skills only, in order to fully prepare for the clinical practicum/externship. When the students began their externship, they stated that they felt confident performing the skills and did not feel that they had missed out on any instruction or learned skills.

What now?

The Medical Assistant program at Jackson College just started a new cohort and are able to be in labs right now, but that can of course change at any moment. With Crossbraining, they are prepared. Skills that require an instructor to evaluate in person, such as blood pressure, was placed in the first week of the course to ensure students were able to get that one on one instruction. But they are ready for the inevitable. Students have their Crossbraining logins and assignments and are ready to transition online when needed so they can complete as many lab skills as possible until they are able to be back in labs again.

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Published by Dr. Kristin Spencer February 22, 2021
Dr. Kristin Spencer